Suspended for Being Patriotic

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yes our public school system is a complete joke. Nothing new to report here, but this story is particularly disgusting because patriotic students were suspended from school for wearing t-shirts with writing on them:

Ben Lewandowski says he was only trying to be patriotic when he wore a homemade T-shirt featuring an American flag bumper sticker and the words "Remember 9/11" to Lincoln Park High School on Monday.

After all, it was Sept. 11 -- five years after the terrorist attacks.

The 17-year-old Lincoln Park resident put the shirt on Monday morning and headed to school -- where he was quickly sent to the office and suspended for three days for violating the school's dress code.

He was one of at least seven students sent home for wearing shirts featuring patriotic images and messages. It comes less than a week after three siblings were suspended for wearing shirts emblazoned with the First Amendment, despite warnings, and a week after more than 200 students were sent home on the first day of school for violating the district's dress code -- which bans apparel with writing or pictures.

For Lewandowski, who was sent home on the first day of school for wearing a shirt with writing on it, Monday's incident was his second offense.

"I was frustrated," said the junior, whose desire to become a firefighter was fueled after the Sept. 11 attacks. "It just made me so mad that I can't be patriotic."

Lincoln Park Schools Superintendent Randall Kite said the high school held a moment of silence Monday to give students an outlet to show their patriotism. He said some students had asked last week whether they could wear shirts to commemorate the day, and they were told no.

"We didn't think it would be appropriate, because of the dress code, to wear T-shirts with writing," he said Tuesday.

According to the dress code, students are allowed to wear school-sanctioned clothing, such as T-shirts bearing the school's mascot or clothing that supports school organizations.

Kite said the district had lawyers review the policy before it was enacted. Members of the district's school board have said the dress code is lenient compared with other districts such as Detroit and Pontiac, which have banned jeans and T-shirts completely.

Southfield's school district implemented a dress code last year similar to those enacted in Detroit and Pontiac this year. Southfield Schools Deputy Superintendent Ken Siver said Tuesday that the district didn't have any problems Monday with students violating the policy to wear patriotic garb.

Still, some Lincoln Park parents say they feel the district has gone too far.

Kaye Belcuore's granddaughter, 14-year-old Karly Belcuore, was sent home Monday from Lincoln Park High for wearing a T-shirt with patriotic messages on it.
"I think it's a little ridiculous under the circumstances," Kaye Belcuore said.

Kelly Galley agrees. Her three children -- 13-year-old twins Monique and Jaicen Massa and 11-year-old Jaymie Massa -- were suspended last week for protesting the dress code by wearing T-shirts with the First Amendment on them. Jaymie had stayed home from Lincoln Park Middle School on Tuesday, but Monique and Jaicen wore the shirts again -- their third offense -- and were suspended again, this time for five days. One more offense and they'll be expelled.

Galley said it's likely she'll end up homeschooling.

At least the Galley-family story will have a happy ending when the kids are finally home schooled and not subjected to the mercy of schoolboard members and other bureaucratic officials.

Remember 9/11

Monday, September 11, 2006

A lesson we may never learn:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to think "profiling" is worse than the slaughter of innocent people...

Politicians Have Feelings Too

Friday, September 08, 2006

You see kids, congressional candidates are more than just vote-hungry politicians devoid of soul:

WASHINGTON - Voters weary of campaign advertising will get a reprieve Monday in the political equivalent of a moment of silence.

Several candidates say they are pulling their campaign ads for the day to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In Pennsylvania, where Republican Sen. Rick Santorum and Democrat Bob Casey have filled the airwaves in one of the nation's most competitive races, both said Thursday they are pulling down their commercials fninor the day.

Casey "thinks it is a day for remembrance and not for politicking," said Larry Smar, a campaign spokesman.

Santorum's campaign press secretary expressed a similar sentiment.

"We had always planned to be dark that day," said Virginia Davis. "We knew it would be disrespectful to run ads that day. We had never even placed a buy."
Take that Casey. Not a single buy from the Santorum campaign. And not a single buy from me either - in regards to this stunt. It would be easier to believe Sept 11th isn't a day for "politicking" if it weren't true that both parties have been using it to attack the other ever since that horrible morg five years ago.

More Than Just a Few Volts?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

They say cocaine doesn't mix well with alcohol and other drugs. Now we can add tasers to the list:

A forensic pathologist says she couldn't tell whether police use of a Taser contributed to the death of 44-year-old Robert Bagnell in Vancouver more than two years ago.

Bagnell died after he was restrained and Tasered by police as they tried to remove him from a bathroom at a Granville Street hotel in June 2004.

Dr. Laurel Gray told a coroner's inquest on Tuesday that Bagnell had four times the lethal level of cocaine in his blood, and had also taken amphetamines.

She also told the inquest that she found a series of 13 red marks on Bagnell's body - most of them in pairs about two centimetres apart.

The pathologist said she could not tell whether the marks were caused by a police Taser.
A police account of the fatal incident states that officers applied a Taser twice, and that Bagnell continued to struggle after being hit by the Taser.

Gray said if the Taser caused the cardiac arrest, Bagnell's heart would have stopped immediately after the 50,000 volts of electricity were applied.

The Bagnell family has launched a lawsuit against the Vancouver Police Department, the officers involved and the maker and distributor of the Taser, with the hope of getting the device banned in British Columbia.
The debate concerning the use of tasers by police is continuing to intensify now that another suspect has died after receiving the nasty jolt. Advocates for the use of tasers maintain that they are non-lethal devices that help officers subdue unruly suspects who would otherwise be subjected to greater injury with a more punishing weapon.

Human Rights groups such as Amnesty International opposes such devices and claims that they have been responsible for more than 90 deaths in the United States and Canada alone. Surely they will be following this particular story and fuel the anti-taser movement.

If tasers alone are in fact brining out fatal results, its use by police needs to be seriously questioned. However all too often those killed after being tased were found with lethal amounts of drugs in their system. After all, it's only logical that someone who needs to be tased in order to be subdued was under a chemical influence.

Cocaine, a stimulant that can make users aggressive and uncharacteristically strong, puts an unhealthy amount of a stress on the heart that is only worsened when accompanied by 50,000 volts of electricity.

Supporters of the device would say consuming illegal drugs is something you do at your own risk and the threat such users face should not outweigh the positive effects of tasers. Agencies worldwide tout the success of the device, and one study found that the presence of a taser alone is enough to convince a criminal to surrender for fear of getting shocked.

I have yet to draw my own conclusion on the use of tasers. I've never been confronted by a belligerent thug set on causing my great harm - and well, if a taser can be used instead of a gun, I think they serve a vital purpose.

Crime Control is the Best Gun Control

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The mayor of New York City wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and is calling for laws that will have nothing to do with criminals. His plan:

Mayor Bloomberg renewed his call for stronger gun control laws yesterday after the fatal shooting of a hero sanitation worker.

"Our nation has to finally get serious about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and cracking down on the few reckless gun dealers who make their living catering to them," Bloomberg said.

The mayor has been pushing for stricter gun control across the country and has lobbied Congress to change laws so it's easier to track guns used in crimes.
Or we can make it harder for criminals to commit crimes in the first place, but for some reason it's "mean" to suggest keeping violent criminals where they belong - in jail.

Who's #11?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Not Florida State. Say hello to the Top 10 and better things in the weeks to come. The FSU/Miami rivalry is always ugly. We knew going into tonight's contest would be a game of defense, and tonight Florida State proved it has a nasty one.

Congrats FSU.